UAE: British teacher sheds 11kgs to win Dh5,000 diabetes challenge

To increase one's longevity, we must consider everyday changes. It is just the start of a journey to achieving a healthier lifestyle, says the Sharjah resident

by

SM Ayaz Zakir

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Published: Tue 20 Dec 2022, 5:55 PM

A teacher by occupation, Bahawooddin Saiyed, bagged the first prize of Dh5,000 in the 3-month-long RAK Diabetes Challenge 2022, which concluded on Tuesday.

Looking back at his journey and experiences of the last 12 weeks, Saiyed said, “Discipline is key rather than wish. The journey started with the determination to win this battle against this silent killer. Knowing that Type 2 diabetes can be reversed and witnessing its effect on certain family members, I was intent on turning things around."


Saiyed achieved an overall indexed improvement of 38.38 per cent, marked by 50 per cent reduction in HbA1c levels to 5.8 and a weight loss of 11 kilograms. He also emerged as the overall winner and received the first prize in the Physical Category Male.

The Sharjah resident had to undergo dietary changes to go hand in hand with walking for 35-40 minutes daily. "I made the necessary dietary changes and, most of all, reduced my portion sizes, ate my meals at prescribed times, increased vegetable intake, reduced rice, potato, and bread intake, and didn't eat after 7pm," said the winner.


Bahawooddin Saiyed
Bahawooddin Saiyed

“To increase one's longevity, we must consider lifestyle changes. It is just the start of a journey to achieving a healthier lifestyle,” said Saiyed.

The RAK diabetes challenge is an initiative of RAK Hospital aimed at reducing the biomarkers of the disease, proving that diabetes can be very effectively managed and even reversed by modifying your lifestyle. Nearly all the participants showed significant improvement in their HbA1c levels; from an average reading of 7.49 (diabetic), it was brought down to 5.07 (non-diabetic), along with an average weight loss of 4 kilograms and a five percent improvement in overall lifestyle index. Nearly 70 per cent of the participants were overweight and had an HbA1C of above 5.7 at the beginning of the competition.

In the female category, Saira Waseem Malik was the recipient of similar honors of physical participants, having demonstrated a total improvement of 28.73 per cent.

“I am a diabetic for the last 10 years but this is the very first time my HbA1c is within its desired range. It is a big achievement for me. All this was possible because of RAK Diabetes Challenge.”

Saira Waseem Malik
Saira Waseem Malik

Malik mentioned that the initiative motivated her to change her lifestyle by providing guidance on meal plans, exercise routine, and other things. “I was encouraged to incorporate regular walks into my schedule. I feel more energetic and active, and health-related challenges like these should be held every once in a while to keep us motivated & healthy,” added Malik.

Participants were assessed on improvement in their blood glucose levels, weight & BMI, and lifestyle at the beginning and end of the challenge. An automated formula, in conformity with global practices, devised by RAK Hospital was used to evaluate the overall indexed progress of each participant and to identify the winners.

Second & third-prize winners in both the male & female categories received cash prizes of Dh3,000 and Dh2,000, respectively. The winners of the RAKDC22 Corporate Challenge were Stevin Rock and Saqr Port.

In the virtual category, Sindu George Bosco surpassed the rest of the challengers. She and the second and third-ranked contestants received staycation vouchers from Waldorf Astoria Ras Al Khaimah. Additionally, the top 10 participants across all categories received a complimentary RAK Hospital Swiss Health Check Voucher worth Dh1,500.

Khalid Abdulla Mohammed AlShehhi, Director of the Representative Office, Ministry of Health and Prevention (Mohap) – Ras Al Khaimah graced the awards ceremony as the Chief Guest and encouraged the winners and participants alike.

Dr Raza Siddiqui, executive director of RAK Hospital, said: “RAK Diabetes Challenge 2022 was a unique endeavor, undertaken for the first time in the region. Its phenomenal success is indeed a huge leap towards our goal of leading society and people from illness to wellness,”

“The results of RAK Diabetes Challenge 2022 would encourage one and all to develop a healthier lifestyle in general while accelerating the adoption of a multi-disciplinary approach in managing diabetes,” added Dr Siddiqui.

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Professor Adrian Kennedy, chief wellness officer Arabian Wellness and Lifestyle Management, the wellness division of RAK Hospital, stated, “If not managed well, Diabetes causes a wide range of complications including, and not limited to, coronary artery disease, diabetic retinopathy, kidney problems, atherosclerosis, diabetic neuropathy etc. leading to a huge drop in quality of life for patients and their caretakers,”

RAK Diabetes Challenge 2022, a novel concept launched first time in the country in association with the Ministry of Health and Prevention, Ras Al Khaimah, witnessed nearly 3000 enrolments & participants vying actively for the top 3 spots across various groups- Physical Category (Male), Physical Category (Female) & Virtual Category. The corporate sector is also actively engaged by registering its employees for the competition.


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